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The English Roses (Puffin picture story books) Paperback – 6 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140569669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140569667
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 0.5 x 25.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 747,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Madonna hangs up her material-girl cloak to teach children the importance of looking beyond a surface sheen. In The English Roses, the superstar's children's book debut, four little girls (the roses in question) "play the same games, read the same books, and like the same boys".

Nicole, Amy, Charlotte and Grace all love to dance the monkey and the tickety-boo... and they all are horribly jealous of Binah, the perfect, beautiful, smart, kind girl who lives nearby. Even though they know Binah is lonely, she makes them sick. They would say "Let's pretend we don't see her when she walks by", and even "Let's push her into the lake!" The pleasantly bossy narrator explains "And that is what they did. No, silly, not the lake part, the pretending not to see her part".

One night, however, the four girls all have the same dream that sets them straight. A fairy godmother sprinkles them with fairy dust and takes them to spy on Binah. When they see that she lives alone with her father, slaving away night and day at household chores, the four girly grumblers feel very sorry for her. The fairy scolds them: "... in the future, you might think twice before grumbling that someone else has a better life than you." And they do.

This morality tale is nothing new under the sun, but it is cleverly told, with many teaspoonfuls of good humour. Jeffrey Fulvimari's illustrations are no less than stunning, filling every page with vivacious black ink lines and gorgeous watercolour reminiscent of 1960s fashion sketches. Children will enjoy this don't-hate-me-because-I'm-beautiful story that celebrates friendship as much as it teaches compassion. It's recommended for ages six and above. --Karin Snelson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Madonna is an international celebrity - pop star, film star and mother. She has recorded 16 albums and appeared in 18 films and is now making a very exciting move into children's books. She is married to the film producer, Guy Ritchie, and has two children. She spends her time between London and Los Angeles.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 17 Sep 2003
Format: Hardcover
The English Roses is beautifully illustrated with a welcome moral message. The voice is good, original and connects well.
For the British market the story could have been improved with a a good editor's tight overview. A number of small adjustments could have improved the text .. "nice" is not a word that is encouraged in descriptive writing in schools, "very" and on one occasion "very, very" is a little clumsy and "neighbourhood" would probably be referred to as town. Children - particularly for SATS are discouraged from writing stories that end "it was all a dream" so it would have been good to have had another vehicle for that element of the story and the introduction of a fairy godmother removes the story to the realms of fantasy. But the book is beautiful, would make a treasured keepsake and if proof were in the pudding my two children enjoyed it - and that's what really matters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Foster on 15 Jan 2008
Format: Hardcover
We bought this book on spec and both my five year old daughter and I were delighted with the story and pictures. She really identified with the characters and though she is not normally that thoughtful, this did provoke us into bedtime discussion about jealousy and making assumptions. We loved it and cant wait to read more. She is hoping Daddy will read it to her again tonight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charly Dunning on 31 Dec 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was given this as a present when it was first released, I was about 10 at the time. (Was released in 2004.)

It is my favourite children's book, it's well illustrated, the story works, the overall moral of the book is a great one, and one of the characters in the book has the same name as me! What more could you ask for?

Not only has Madonna got a great career as a singer, but she has also showcased her talent for writing books. I've not read any more of the books for her 5-part series, but I'm sure they are a collection worth having.

If you buy this for your daughter, niece of grandchild I'm sure she would be overjoyed at receiving it.

The illustrations not only work in the book, but they would also work as wall stickers for children's rooms. So perhaps that is something that the publishers could invest in?
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Miss M H S Lau on 18 Nov 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a modern tale for children in today's world. I am glad that Madonna come out with something original. Envy is something children come across in a day to day basis and it is a great idea to illustrate the damage it may do to innocent children in this beautiful book. I am looking forward to the other titles by Madonna. The collaboration with famous illustrators are at great advantage too when it comes to children book publishing.
This is a very enjoyable book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A surprisingly sweet story about friendship which is raised above the ordinary by the lovely illustrations which certainly captured my daughter's attention. The group of girls embrace all the nice character types you'd expect at school - studious, sporty, etc, so everyone can easily pick a favourite.
Like Lauren Child's Clarice Bean books which started out as picture books, Madonna has now produced a series of chapter books (with a matching website) for confident readers and we're finding them a cut above some of the other celeb offerings for young girls.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Hulse on 3 Feb 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I have read by Madonna although I am a fan of her music.I like the book because when you read the first word you are hooked.You can't wait to find out what happens.My mum said she has never known me to keep quiet for so long.
Celia Hulse age 9
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Sep 2003
Format: Hardcover
I was initally unsure whether this is a children's book targetted at adults, or a coffee table book for kids (which misses the point, given that kids don't have coffee tables...).
The characters and writing style is flat, and unengaging, the pictures lack charm and remind me of those new Bratz, Barbie-with attitude-type dolls. And the story lacks any depth or intelligence.
It is the story of four "English Roses" who could be six or seven, could be 12 or 13, could be 15 or 16, who shun one of the girls in their street because she is so beautiful. But, when they discover what her life is like, they befriend her.
Besides the fact that there is little charm to this book - despite its desperate attempts to display some - it seems to fall between a rock and a hard place. My daughter is four, and the right age to enjoy picture books with a story, but is not engaged by a story based on teenage (at best) sentiments and attitudes like this. She simply does not observe the beauty or otherwise of her friends, in the way that this book implies.
But, the 8-10 year-olds who I know - who seem more likely to be a little in tune with the themes here - wouldn't go near a picture book. They're already onto Harry Potter, Amber Spyglass etc. And it's way too childish for teenagers.
The key to Madonna's target audience, I think, is a little bit of small print right at the back of the book, which identifies the font used for the text in the book (who, apart from an artsy fartsy grow-up would be interested in such matters?).
I don't say this with any joy, as someone who has loved Madonna's music in the past and who believes her to be an icon who has made the world a thoroughly more entertaining place over the past two decades.
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